I'm pretty sure it's a common refrain these days (and probably noted in other Weiner reviews on here) that the attention her feud with Jonathan FranzeI'm pretty sure it's a common refrain these days (and probably noted in other Weiner reviews on here) that the attention her feud with Jonathan Franzen has brought her has gained her more than a few fans.
Count me among them.
"Who Do You Love" was my first book of hers (which happens to be her most recent) and I really enjoyed it. I was struck over the course of its pages how, the older I get, the more I'm softening for women's fiction. Call it chick lit, but, in my case, don't because I think it's a huge discredit to give such a leading label to talented writers like Weiner and others in her camp (which may one day include myself...seems like the stories calling to me in my brain are female-driven, often with a romantic element).
What I enjoy most about Weiner's writing are her characters—I felt like I knew Rachel and Andy (admittedly, I might have had a crush on the latter myself) and that is a testament to her storytelling ability.
What I've discovered in the past three years is that writing a book is damn hard work. To make people believable, to make readers want to turn the pages, to craft a plot tight enough that even with a few nods of predictability we want to keep living in it, is no small feat.
For that reason alone, I'll keep reading Weiner's work (but her Twitter feed is a close second). ...more
I'm a HUGE Steve Martin fan. Have been.... basically forever, but in recent years, the love's been taken up a notch reading two of his novels, PleasurI'm a HUGE Steve Martin fan. Have been.... basically forever, but in recent years, the love's been taken up a notch reading two of his novels, Pleasure of My Company and An Object of Beauty. Now it's stratospheric after an audio reading of his comedic memoir Born Standing Up, which I highly, highly recommend—especially if you're an artist of any kind (Steve does the reading, which makes it five stars for me.) Did you know, in the mid-70s, he performed his stand-up at sold-out STADIUMS? It's incredible, the trajectory of his career. He's a brilliant comedian, an incredible writer (I mean, like, INSANELY good), he's written a boatload of movies and a well-respected play, he's an awesome banjo player (a Grammy winner who plays the musical interludes for the audio book) and my favorite piece to the making of Steve "Renaissance Man" Martin? He's an avid art collector whose favorite artist, Edward Hopper, is mine too. [He sold a Hopper a few years back for $27 million !!!!]...more
Here's the thing: I knew after reading the last page of Commencement that I was going to keep reading Sullivan's work. (Matter of fact, I'm excited toHere's the thing: I knew after reading the last page of Commencement that I was going to keep reading Sullivan's work. (Matter of fact, I'm excited to pick up The Engagements here soon.)
I say that first and foremost because what I loved best about this book is her talent. This story? At times? Ehhhh not so much.
I mean, I loved the characters—Bree, Sally, April, and Celia. I loved that they were experiencing college together, sharing in 20-something memories that in many ways felt both familiar and real. And I also loved that they were four individuals who were totally flawed (because women, especially, are multi-faceted creatures, right?).
What I didn't love? All the parts that read like Sullivan wrote her senior thesis at Smith College (where the book is set) ABOUT Smith College, then cut up the pages into strips she felt she had to insert into this book.
In my view, its 400-plus pages would have greatly benefited from some cutting on the editorial side of things(at least 20 pages worth), most of it coming from the points about Smith that Sullivan insisted on making multiple times. Like how Smith is the Lesbian College Capital of the world. (Which, while likely true...at least according to the Google searching I felt compelled to do post-read, it still felt like this point in particular got crammed down our throats time and time again.)
Overall, Sullivan a great author. This was her first novel (and it's at least 6-7 yrs old now, with two out since), so I'll be curious to see how her skills have evolved in subsequent reads. If her characters in those books are half as well-drawn as these four best friends, I'm sure to fall hard for them....more
It's so cool to be a writer befriending other writers--ones with too-legit-to-quit books on store shelves right next to other titles I've read and admIt's so cool to be a writer befriending other writers--ones with too-legit-to-quit books on store shelves right next to other titles I've read and admired over the years. Amy Reichert is one such writer. At Midwest Writers Workshop last month, we bonded over cider, Cards of Humanity and our fave rom-coms. The next day, I promptly bought (and had her autograph) a copy of her debut, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake. In the past three days (to use an apt metaphor), I devoured it! The story of Lou, a struggling chef with a restaurant sunk by a bad review, and Al, the British import behind it, the novel is the unraveling of a meet-cute gone wrong. In Amy's deft hands, it ends up a sweetly told love story where everything turns out right. I'm SO proud of her! Seeing a Midwestern mama's dreams of publication come true is BEYOND inspiring. I highly recommend this read to all my lady friends--think of it as a foodie version of "You've Got Mail"! ...more